Playing with Blocks at CVHS

Thornton 2013Now that course selection for the 2015-16 school year is over, administrators and counselors at CV High School are working to build next year’s master schedule.  One significant change for next year will be the addition of a full block, making CVHS one of the first high schools in the area to utilize a five-block schedule format. I invited CVHS Principal Michael Thornton to share reasons for the change and what it means for students.

In just the seven years since I became principal at Conestoga Valley High School, we have incorporated a number of programming changes to meet the needs of our students and reflect the latest in research-based best practices. These changes are the result of a constant review process involving feedback from parents, teachers, supervisors, counselors, administrators and, of course, students. At the same time, new state mandates have also required adjustments to high school programming. Moving to a five-block schedule helps address the combination of these needs. See these key points:

5 Things Parents Should Know About the PSSAs

PSSATuesday, CV students in grades 3-8 began taking the English language arts (ELA) portion of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSAs. These exams will continue next week with the math portion and later with science for students in certain grades.

Mandated assessments have become a hot-button political issue, but I will leave it to politicians in Harrisburg and Washington to debate their meaning and merits. For us at CV, we are required to administer these exams to measure our students’ achievement, and our teachers have prepared our students to do their best.

Here are five other facts parents should know about the PSSAs.

It’s About Culture

Last week, I was humbled to accept the Outstanding Superintendent Award from the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA). The statewide organization gives the award annually to a superintendent who recognizes the importance of music and the arts in school curriculum. I certainly do, but I accepted the award on behalf of our entire staff, who work together to create a culture where the arts can thrive.

New Contract, Same Commitment

Monday evening, our school board unanimously approved a new contract for our local teachers association that will run through the 2018-2019 school year. I believe the agreement, along with the collaborative nature of our negotiations, demonstrate the commitment of both our school directors and our teachers to maintain the high quality of our educational programs in Conestoga Valley.

Rill Medal of Honor

CVH-137245-22270387One of the highest honors we can bestow on members of our school community is the Robert W. Rill Medal Of Honor. It is awarded annually during our commencement program to two graduating seniors and a member of our community. Here is how you can help.

Winter Weather Woes

As I write this, I’m watching the temperature climb into the 50s for the first time in months. I am ready for spring! But as welcome as the thaw may be, it also (hopefully) means an end to a winter season that has been difficult for our facilities.

Reactions to the Governor’s Budget

With this week’s winter weather, I have not had time to delve into the many details of Gov. Wolf’s budget proposals, but his address Tuesday has caused quite a stir. Many of the ideas involving education have been discussed for many years, but it is interesting to see all of them in one bold package. Here are some of my other reactions:


#BuckskinPrideOurs is a school community of more than 4,300 students, 600 educators and professionals and more than 30,000 residents. With so many individuals involved in the life of our school, we are bound to have our ups and downs. And have we ever.

I have been reflecting lately on several of these experiences—and so often come away filled with Buckskin Pride.

Community Forum: Participate in the Process

Education funding was a major issue in his campaign, and this week Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a proposal for $1 billion in new education funding paid for by an extraction tax on natural gas. Whatever the merits or demerits of the tax, the proposal shines a spotlight on school funding as school boards begin to craft spending plans for the 2015-2016 school year.

You can learn about the state of Conestoga Valley’s budget and the challenges we face in the coming years at our next Community Forum, on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at Fritz Elementary. I wanted to preview some of the issues we hope to discuss.